WordPress is Absolute Garbage

We Feel Strongly That The Platform Is Not For Your Brand

We have many peers who will espouse to you the value of WordPress, and to the credit of some of our peers, for the right purpose, WordPress can be an effective content management system (the platform upon which a website is built). However, for many it’s the primary choice of industry fan boys and girls who are harder at work trying to appear in the know, than they are selecting the best tool for their client’s brand. Why is that? WordPress has immense brand value. To this day, a wild 50% or more of sites on the web are built on WordPress. And, for a long time, it seemed like THE best choice of anyone (novice or developer) to build a site. It’s seemingly free, and the structure of the content management system, and use of templates, removes a level of anxiety around the idea of having to code a website from scratch. However, we’ve moved well past the days in which those attributes alone should evoke any allure for a content management system. Nearly all of them rely on templates, and the content management systems themselves improve year after year in both terms of user interface and functionality. So, let’s break down some of the reasons why WordPress is not the platform of choice for your website needs.

 

1. Free is a horrendous myth.  

Time and again we’ve heard people say, “but WordPress is free.” Sure. Go for that. Here’s the deal, WordPress as a platform is open source, meaning - among other things - open for download to all. However, a list of costs can quickly develop after that. You’ll need to have your site hosted somewhere. You can anticipate a monthly, or annual, cost for that. If you wish to use your site to sell products, you’ll want an SSL (Secure Service Layer) certificate. You can expect an annual cost for that as well. WordPress, for sure, lets you create whatever your HTML/CSS/Javascript mind might create. But, if you’re not one of those folks, you can expect to rely on plugins to get certain tasks done (collecting payments, event registrations, information forms, for example). Many plugins are free, created by a developer somewhere in the world. Others are not. Credible ones, with a modicum of security, are not. So expect annual fees for those as well. It. Adds. Up.

It’s true, Squarespace does cost money. With plans ranging from $10 per month to over $30, you can scale your Squarespace investment to your website needs. What do you get for that amount of cash? Well: hosting, a domain, a laundry list of features that you don’t have to purchase and install a third party plugin for, support services, and SSL without the additional fee.

At the end of the day, it’s always a cost saving activity for our clients to transition from Wordpress to Squarespace. We’ve seen clients save upwards of four figures per year. Anytime your marketing budget can yield a savings you should go for it!

2. What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) is done better everywhere else.

People who advocate for WordPress will tell you that it is a remarkably easy CMS to use. There’s a combined 20 years of experience with web design at our agency, and we honestly dread having to open a client’s WordPress site. Why? Because it’s very much not a What You See Is What You Get Experience (WYSIWYG). While the HTML might make more sense to us, it can lead to confusion for others, and accidental shifts, or deletes, in lines of code can take down functionality on the whole site. There is power in the transparency that other CMS’ provide by allowing users to edit content as if they were looking at a live web page. It lets them know exactly what is happening, in real time.

Squarespace is probably THE WYSIWYG of all of the WYSIGWYG’s. The content management system is simple, and the page editing tools are basically intuitive, prompting you for your choice of content at the pause of your cursor.

Squarespace uses content blocks to organize content. They can be moved and scaled as needed in almost anyway you might imagine. You fill each block with the requisite content, be it text, an image, video, html, css, and so on. Native features allow for you to sell products, collect information via forms, and place events in a calendar, among other functions.

Content blocks can be removed and edited with incredible ease as well. This makes major edits, or the addition and removal of temporary content remarkably easy. The same is true for the creation and removal of pages, and their organization in your site’s hierarchy. It. Just. Makes. More. Sense.

3. Maintenance is still, somehow a thing.

So, here’s the awkward thing. You have to update your WordPress CMS. Since you downloaded it and installed it somewhere, you’re not getting the CMS as it exists on the source organization’s server. (A drawback of using an open source product?) On top of that, those plugins you had to install from another source, because WordPress can’t do the whole job on its own, they need updates too. Sometimes one thing updates and becomes incompatible with the other. This can actually bring an entire site down. Other CMS options have moved past all of that.

Here’s the darker side about maintenance. When your site is down and you don’t understand why (and it turns out it's the plugins fault), what do you end up doing? You bring in some sort of third party tech support (often our peers), and ask them to figure out what’s going on. Well, when that tech support has a three-figure hourly rate and it can take time to delve in, things get pricey quick. We have had clients spend thousands with us, year after year, because they refuse to abandon their WordPress site for something more . . . streamlined. The cost of support, the loss of productivity, and the downtime for the site itself all come at a premium. The idea that WordPress is free is - and has been - absurd.

Like WordPress, when you access your Squarespace site you do so from a browser. But, unlike WordPress, the content management system is centrally housed on Squarespace servers. Meaning that updates aren’t up to you, they are up to them, and everyone - everywhere - is subject to the same schedule. We’ve used Squarespace for a couple of years now, one of us is even in the process of becoming an Authorized Trainer, and we’ve never had service disrupted over a platform update. We don’t even know they’ve happened until new features become available. It’s swell.

Technology should empower. Whether it was created to turn a profit, or created to be open to all, the aim of almost anything developed is to improve some part of your life. WordPress used to do this well. It did open up the web to an army of blog publishers who wanted to get their voice out into the world. Whether it’s continuing to do so, or whether it’s the best platform for a business to to build on is a point of contention for sure. At the end of the day, whether you go it alone, or hire someone to build a site for your business, you own that brand asset. You should be able to login and edit it. Even if only the most basic elements make sense to you (text, images, placement of objects, etc.). Too many times we’ve heard horror stories of designers who believe WordPress is the grand facilitator of their work, only for the client to get their new website 3 months late, and the designer hesitate to grant them access (to the point of avoidance) to the site that represents their business. It’s time to move on from WordPress.